tv [untitled] August 30, 2011 9:30pm-10:00pm PDT
[no audio] deputy city attorney charles sullivan to add anything. supervisor campos: we have the deputy attorney. did you want to add anything? >> good afternoon. charles sullivan. i thing the department pretty much summarized it correctly. i have nothing to add, unless you have questions for me. supervisor campos: before we proceed with discussion, i wanted to ask of the legislative analyst's office, how this process works. we have item 2 and item 3, a resolution. my understanding is, as a committee, we have to act on each one of the five recommendation that has been made. is that correct? >> good morning, supervisors.
this committee will make -- should be making a decision on whether they agree or disagree with each of the five findings and whether they agree or disagree with the one recommendation from the board supervisors. add that time, this committee will pass out to the full board a resolution that incorporates this committee's decision for approval or disapproval. supervisor campos: ok. colleagues, why don't we move to the actual resolution where you have the specific findings. again, what you have here are five findings and recommendations. we need to take a position on each one of them. if you look at the resolution, and it specifically references each one of those five findings.
and we also have to provide our reasons for our agreement or disagreement with each one of those. before we do that, i do not know if there is anyone that wanted to add anything? before we go into discussion, why don't we hear from members of the public that would like to speak on this item. please come forward. >> thomas picarello again. i also want to thank the san francisco civil grand jury for their work the entire year. not only on this report, but for their reports on the ethics commission, and also the report on the controller's office regarding the whistleblower program. with all due respect to this committee, colleagues on the
full board, it is unfortunate that the civil grand jury is the only entity in the city doing any oversight on your city departments, city agencies, and cbo's. you should read all of your civil grand jury reports and follow their recommendations. these are average citizens, some lawyers, some school teachers. they have no agendas, they have no political constituency, and they're giving you sound advice. thank you. supervisor campos: two minutes that we had given everyone? >> yes, two minutes.
>> ok, i am here to speak about this development agreement. it seemed that you are focusing only on the tenant issues. that should not be the only issue discussed here today, since we have a plan department here. the civil grandeur report, we think the members who submitted the documents. my concerns are on the architecture would issues. one is that there was no sound this report. there has not been a carbon footprint analysis on the project after renovations of the garden units. there is no analysis of the direct transit options. they have eliminated any preservation alternative in this project under item four. they said for a variety of policy reasons, the other options submitted to them were seen as in feasible. that does not mean that they studied it any more than taking the piece of paper and sticking it in a drawer. that does not mean our public
policy people are reviewing this issue and products efficiently. when you actually state the response on discouraging short- term investments speculation, that has already occurred in parkmerced. since ownership, they have sold off units, land, they have decimated the community. there was a wet lawsuit. how do you analyze the impact on the social and financial impact of the community? sfu bought over 1000 units for housing, and we have not seen anything. the planning the problem has not looked at the existing towers, which are the only non- retrofitted buildings in the area. when we add on amendments and shovel them through -- president
chu, i respectfully request that you recused yourself from this discussion. there was a meeting on this yesterday. supervisor campos: to the extent that someone is raising the issue of recusal. the guidelines for that are very clear. i do not see the applicability of those guidelines, but i want to make sure we hear from the city's attorneys office on that. >> i agree with you. there is no basis for refusal of any of the committee members. supervisor campos: next speaker please. >> michael ruston, a member of the parkmerced action coley -- coalition. but i'm here speaking for myself. i am close to the civil grand jury as well as all of the tenant organizations that have pointed out that the board of
supervisors approving this demolition and planning commission approving it are dead wrong and not acting in the interest of the citizens of san francisco. i know that some members of the board are claiming that there are tenants supporters but their boats betrayed their real interest, and i am ashamed to see the political considerations are moving the board of supervisors decision as well as the planning commission's. the planners are real-estate speculators rather than true visionary planners. san francisco of tomorrow has supported them. i do not think any of the substantive protections of the eir had been considered by the board. representatives from the planning department who spoke saying that this goes down to
whether the cost of hawkins and ellis, whether a development agreement can be passed to have read control. that is not the issue. the issue is they are going to bulldoze the homes of 5000 people. the civil grand jury is reporting this. these people do not have political considerations at work. they are representing the interests of people like me whose homes will be bulldozed. and to say that it is specious to say that you can summarize the seven grand juries objection to this and you can -- supervisor campos: thank you, sir. next speaker please. >> good morning, my name is of less -- douglas tepp. i want to thank the sponsor of
this hearing. item two is as important as one. i was hoping i would not have to say this, but i do. one person is missing from this hearing, a person that is very influential of what is going on in parkmerced. i do not think it is necessary for me to say that person's name. i think everyone knows that person's name. district 7. that is all. i think it is only proper and correct to have that person say what they want to say in regards to parkmerced. a hearing without that input, i think, is a serious deficiency. in the future, that should be addressed. just like in item one, regarding the gift fund at laguna honda hospital. when i keep researching, looking for comments from that person, i
find nothing. i think, in a certain sense, that is not doing your job. laguna honda is in your district, so is parkmerced, but we nothing from that person in regard to that. i think you are shortchanging the citizens of san francisco. when you have that much influence on those two important institutions of the city, and you are not present to offer any comment -- because, ideally, you should be saying what you want to say. but to say nothing is a serious shortchanging of the system. supervisor campos: thank you very much. next speaker. >> my name is steven halpern. i am a former 4% of the civil grand jury, twin peaks president -- resident. i was particularly incensed by
my supervisor, sean elsbernd's comments, whoever wrote this report would have flunked out of law school in the first year. though the committee had lawyers on it with much more experience than the supervisors. but my basic question is, i do not see the logic of the further development in parkmerced, treasure island, where the jobs of all of these people coming into the city. why do we have to chase out of the city people that would like a little grass around their home? supervisor campos: thank you. by the way, i have forgot to mention that aaron goodman had also signed up for this item.
>> i am a resident with a family in parkmerced. i would like to think the grand jury for a scathing report but i believe it is truly unbiased. i am not rage, and sensed -- incensed about how the amendment got there. i call them the phantom 14 pages. i believe people's rights have been violated because of the due process. it could be questionable. the 11th hour amendments. as it attorneys sullivan said himself, he worked on it the night before. as my mother said, the road to hell is paid in good intentions. the rights of many people were violated. the residents should have had the opportunity to read it and compare it with the development agreement that has been changed
seven times, and i am still waiting from the planning department, as i have written to you, sir. i sent him a letter. as a new resident of parkmerced, i won every document that the saints to this development printed for me because i cannot afford it. i have neighbors who are visually impaired, who are deaf, disabled. we have not seen all of these documents and we are entitled to them. i have politely ask you, i have the letters to verify it, and i am disappointed how this was all done in the 11th hour. and it is going to be reviewed. i applaud the grand jury and other residents of san francisco who are questioning the behavior of everyone elected. and as malcolm always said, is either the bullet or the ballot. and we will be voting this
november. supervisor campos: thank you. next speaker. >> dean press. good morning. fortunately, this unconscionable project of parkmerced we expect to land on the ballot so the citizens have an opportunity to vote against it through the referendum process. but in the meantime, i want to commend the civil grand jury for their work on this important issue, and their oversight, and frankly, some of the oversight that has failed to be provided by various city agencies. let us talk about the title of this report. government by developer. that is what we are dealing with here. there has been no daylight whatsoever in this project between the planning department, the mayor's office of economic
and workforce development. , and the developers. this is, indeed, government by developer. where this is headed, the planning department's responses, you may be tempted to incorporate the planning department's response to the civil grand jury findings as your own. i would caution you to break this cycle of government by developer. and to do an independent response. for those of you who have concerns about the enforceability of rent control, for example, laid those out in your response. for those of you, including president to, who believe -- chiu, that these are ironclad promises, include your response. include your dissenting views, even if it is a minority of the board, but respond in substance. do not just adopt what is an extremely one-sided, and i
believe, insufficient response from the plans department. that is not respectful to the project and to those who developed this project. it does not need to be yours. supervisor campos: thank you. next speaker please. >> good morning, supervisors. mitchell with the affordable housing alliance. i will be general today after regaling you with detailed critiques of what this does to state law. today, i want to remind you of a fable. a new taylor comes to town, someone that no one has seen. he approaches the emperor and tell the emperor that he can make him the most fantastic suit of clothes. the only catch is, if you are not very smart, you will not see it and you will think that the emperor is not close when we are
all wearing the suit. we all know happens. the tailor works on the suit, and became stroll down how. he appears to be naked but everyone else does not say anything because they do not want to appear to be stupid. then a child says, the emperor has no clothes. then everyone sees what is happening. i would submit to you the grand jury is that small child, the only one willing to point out that the promises made here, this rube goldberg contraption that city has made, may not function. the transit, which is supposed to come to this village, may never come. there will be 6000 new parking spaces which contrasts rather remarkably with the fact that 1538 two bedroom and 3-bedroom apartments, where 5000 people currently live, will be demolished. it is the equivalent of 12
international hotels, instead sro units. i join with the normal people of san francisco today to repeat to you once again, the emperor here has no clothes. supervisor campos: thank you. there are a number of people who have spoken. if there is any member of the public that has not spoken that would like to speak on these items, please come forward. is there anyone from the public that would like to comment on this item? -- seeing none, public comment is closed. thank you all for coming out to this hearing. president chiu. supervisor campos: i want to thank everyone who came out for this matter. i want to thank the grand jury for the work that you do. you invite me to discuss with you the work you are doing, and i want to thank you for that service, for the report to provide us.
i also want to thank the tenant and tenant advocates who are here. you have certainly made us consider all of the issues that are at hand. as you know, i am actually the one tenet sitting on the committee today. i have listened to you and have considered your concerns deeply. this is why we included the many protections for tenants that were laid out in this agreement. i am not going to reiterate all of the provisions that were already reiterated in the discussion over parkmerced, repeated today, but suffice it to say, with regard to costa hawkins, there is an explicit exemption that we are complying to. under the ellis act, currently, tenants do not have protection under the spirit we have tried to ensure is that tenants have more protections under this
development agreement that they currently have. from my perspective, -- and i can understand the concern that have been raised -- but i believe the city has made very significant steps to respond to that. that being said, my guess is it is probably no surprise that i do not agree with the findings are laid out in the civil grand jury report. at this time, i would ask that the resolution we have that purports to agree with them be amended to adopt the findings and responses as laid out by ms. mats. i know that there was a public speaker who had asked for the details. so i would ask that we amend the language provided in our packets, to incorporate that language into this resolution, and then we vote on the resolution as amended. supervisor campos: if i may, mr.
president, the way the resolution is drafted, if you look at the last page on the first result clause, it provides a space for the committee to make a recommendation on whether it agrees or disagrees with the specific finding. and then it has to provide a reason as to -- supervisor chiu: we could state that we disagree with the findings and either incorporate the specific language in the letter provided to us by the economic and workforce department, or we could refer to this document so that people know what we are talking about. happy to go either way. supervisor campos: let me turn it over to supervisor farrell, and then i will speak to the specific findings. supervisor farrell: thank you, chair campos. let me also say thank-you to the civil grand jury for your time and effort. i am going to be joining
president tchiu and agree with his opinion. i agree with all of the tenants -- i agree and thank all of the tenant for coming out. i know all of the time that you have spent for our city, and i want to make sure i express my gratitude as well. at the end of the day, though -- i do not want to repeat too much. this issue has been before us for quite some time now. i understand there are still people that are on -- still people that are not happy with the decisions of the board. so be it. chair campos, if you want to comment. but i would be prepared to prepared tochiu's decision -- prepared to support president chiu's decision here. supervisor campos: i want to thank everyone that has worked on the city side of this,
members of the civil grand jury, members of the public that have come out. there has been a lot of discussion about this project. very heated discussion. i appreciate the fact that there can be differences of opinion on something as complicated as this. while i understand where the department's and some of my colleagues are coming from, my views on the enforceability of this deal have been very clear. certainly, something that i have articulated in my boat. i appreciate -- my vote. i appreciate the fact that the supervisors who worked on this and eventually approved it, went out of the way to work with various city agencies, and the developer to provide as many protections as legally possible. i do feel that they try to go as far as the law allowed. but ultimately, for me, i do not
believe that there is enforceability. i do not believe that we can honestly look at where state law is on these issues and say that there is no reasonable argument that a court could find the protections that were concluded unenforceable. should take when it comes to protecting the rights of tenants. well perhaps some of us on the
board and city government may be willing to take risks, at the end of the day when it comes to taking the risk, i will listen to the people off who ultimately have to live with the consequences of that risk, and i would ask the city attorney's office whether or not there is a reasonable argument that the protections that were included in this development agreement are not enforceable. could someone make a reasonable argument of that? >> charles sullivan, city attorney's office. as you know, i have given extensive testimony in the board -- to the board on open in closed session on this issue. part of the difficulty results from the fact that we relied on two exemptions. the first one was the exemption under the state's 10-city bonus. there is no case law on that, and that is part of what we were
advising you. there is a lot of reasons why we believe we fit within that exemption. there is the second exemption that came up later that we discussed, at that we found that deals with replacement housing units built on the same property within five years. there is case law that actually supports that. at the end of the day, -- i do not know it is worth repeating, but all of these things are to make it enforceable, and also to provide that -- to require that the demolitions and relocation have been in advance before anybody -- and the unit is demolished. at the end of the day, we concluded there were strong arguments to support the enforceability of the rent control provisions. supervisor campos: again, i conceded that. the question is, is a reasonable
argument on the other side? >> the only argument would be the cost of hawkins does not allow the city to impose rents on new units. there is an exception, and we have told you about that and why we believe it applies here. supervisor campos: you are saying no accordance could provide these provisions are not enforceable? >> i cannot predict finally what any court would do. all i can do is give you the advice we of given you on this. supervisor campos: i think that is the problem. because we're talking about issues were some of these there are no legal precedents that say you can do some of the things you are doing at the end of the day, no one can provide the guarantee. while i appreciate that we have gone as far as we could possibly go, i actually think that at the end of the day we're still
dealing with some risk, and again, while i understand there are strong arguments as to why the risk will not materialize, the fact remains that the risk exists. i have yet to hear from any of the tenets advocates and the folks who came out in opposition to this project as to any feeling that their concerns have been addressed or they have been given the reassurance of having the protection, the level of protection that is needed. i always been the of what would you do if you had a family member in that situation, i would want as many protections as possible. president chiu, would you like to add anything? supervisor chu: sure, given those comments. i need to reiterate that the
deputy city attorney in city attorney have stated over and over again that we have strong arguments that will prevail in court. one can think of all of the possible things that could happen, but at the end of the day we had very strong arguments we believe will prevail. even if some of the arguments do not prevail, there are back of arguments. there are legal protections behind those. even of those do not prevail, we have a close to two wondered million-dollar fund to compensate tenants in the worst- case scenario. -- $200 million fund to compensate tenants in the worst- case scenario. the tenants who currently live in this space who will not have to move until they have a brand new unit they can move into what otherwise see their capital improvement cost passed on to them, the rent go up